Get loose, get serious: Wild opens camp
The prospect of Gaborik and Demitra working their magic in open Xcel ice for another season ... it's closer than you think. Wild players kicked off camp today, with the exhibition opener only days away.
Tuesday: Exhibition opener, vs. Detroit, 7 p.m., Xcel Energy Center
Oct. 4: Season opener, vs. Chicago, 7:30 p.m., Xcel Energy Center
With a flick of Kurtis Foster's wrists, training camp instantaneously became officially official.
Thirty seconds into the first scrimmage, Mark Parrish, perhaps the most beaten, battered and bruised player in Wild history, was nailed in the right foot by a Foster wrister while, of course, Parrish was driving the net.
Fitting, eh? No way it could have happened to anyone else.
"He was screaming at me right away," Foster said afterward, clearly amused. "It seemed like every time I took a shot last year, Parry was on the ice, so it didn't shock me the first shot I take hits him off the foot.
"He was saying some things that I guess you can't say at home."Well," Parrish said, defending himself, "I need one off the big toe 10 seconds into camp? Fozzie owned me last year. I don't know what I did to him, but I did something to tick him off, I guess."
If that wasn't enough to officially kick off training camp, the first scrimmage fittingly went to a shootout. Remember, the Wild won a league-high 10 last season and competed in 17 extra, extra sessions.
And to show things haven't changed, Marian Gaborik, 0-for-8 in his shootout career, missed.
Training camp for the veterans and other roster shoo-ins is all about conditioning, mastering the system and avoiding injury. Training camp for the bubble players is all about distinguishing themselves from the rest.
It's extremely early, but center Dominic Moore, who was out of coach Jacques Lemaire's favor and mind last April after being acquired Feb. 27 from the Pittsburgh Penguins, set himself apart on Day 1. Moore scored twice in the scrimmage and showed he's not only here to earn a roster spot but a significant role.
"Last year, I didn't get the impression they knew very much about me at all as a player," said Moore, 27. "I remember seeing [a Star Tribune] article and [the coaches] never heard of me. It's kind of frustrating at that point because they don't know anything about you.
"I feel I've been an integral part of teams I've played on out east. I was third-line center all last year behind [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin as opposed to coming here, they just got the impression I was an extra, fourth[-line] kind of guy. I want to show them things I can bring so they can get a chance to know me as a player this year."
Moore, a fast two-way center, looked like he would fit in well after scoring two goals in between Gaborik and Pavol Demitra in a big victory at Buffalo last March. But after struggling in the next two games, he was suddenly an extra, scratched in seven of the final 11 games and all five playoff games.